Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 19, 1949

What Is A "Christian" Home?

Rufus Clifford, Old Hickory, Tennessee

In 1851 an American official was sent on government business to the continent of Africa. He remained there one year and died. He was laid to rest in a lonely cemetery in that land. Thirty-one years later, as an act of a grateful public, the United States sent a battleship to the African coast, American hands opened that grave, placed the dust of this body on board the battleship, and returned to America.

The arrival of the ship on this side of the waters was welcomed by a salute from the coastal guns and by a display of flags at half-mast. The casket was carried to the nation's capitol city; all government offices were closed for the day; and the president, congressmen, judges of the Supreme Court, officers of the army and navy, as well as thousands of civilians lined the streets and stood with bowed heads as this man's body was carried down Pennsylvania Avenue.

To whom did they thus pay tribute? What great book had he written? What speech had he delivered? What battle had he won? What enemy had he conquered? What building had he erected? None of these things had been in the life of this man. But when only thirty years of age this then unknown man had written a song which was destined to become the best loved ballad in all American music. It was to be sung by high and low, by rich and poor; and was to make for its author a place forever in the hearts of his countryman. The man was John Howard Payne, and his song was "Home Sweet Home".

What Does "Home" Mean To You?

The word "home" originally meant house; but home is more than just a house in which to live, surrounded by the comforts and luxuries of life. What is your definition of the word "home"?

A gospel preacher once asked a group of children that question. One little fellow replied, "Home is where we eat." A young girl of high school age said, "Home is where we go between midnight and daylight when everything else is closed up." This same preacher put the question to a group of women. One lady timidly replied, "Home is where we slave the hardest and are appreciated the least." And a man, on being asked the question, said, "Home is where we fight our private battles."

A poet has defined "home" like this:

Home is where the heart is, In dwellings great or small.

There is many a stately mansion That isn't a home at all.

And a cottage lighted with love light Is the dearest home of all.

Not long ago I clipped from a religious journal these further definitions of home:

Home — the place where a world of strife is shut out and a world of love is shut in.

Home — the place where the small are great, and the great small.

Home — the father's kingdom, the mother's world, the child's paradise.

Home — the place where we grumble the most and are treated the best.

Home — the center of our affections, round which our hearts best wishes twine.

Home — the place where our stomachs get this meals a day and our hearts a thousand Home — the very vestibule of heaven itself.

"Home" As God Would Have It The home as God would have it is a Christian home. What is a Christian home? Well, a Christian is on who has responded to Christ. A Christian is one who has been born again, having heard the gospel, had faith produced in his heart by it, and has been baptized into Christ. A Christian home, then, would be one where both father and mother are Christians, and where children are being reared in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. A Christian home is one in which all those old enough to become Christians have done so, and those not yet old enough to understand the gospel are in subjection to the loving rule and care of Christian parent:

The home as God would have it is where one finds loyalty to Christian principles. It is a home imbued with the spirit of Christ. It is a home from which the influence for God and righteousness may be radiate into the whole community round about. In a sense becomes a model from which every other home in the community may seek to learn and live. It is a very type of heaven itself. When Jesus told his disciples what heaven was like, he described it in terms of a home; God, being the Father, and all those in the "Father's house' being obedient sons and daughters.

A Christian home is one in which character is developed patterned after that of Jesus Christ. In there is no place for bickerings, jealousies, backbiting, partialities, and such like. On the contrary there is loyalty to the principles of pure and undefiled religion.

There is nothing more desperately needed in our nation today than to have homes like that. There is nothing more urgently needed in the church of the Lord than for its members to be living in and coming from homes of that character. There is scarcely a problem the local church has which would not be solved over-night if the members making up the congregation all had that sort of background in the homes from which they came. If we can have the homes "as God would have them" we've gone a long way toward having "the church God would have it"; for in a sense the two are inseparable. If the church is ever to be the power God wants her to be, it can come only when the homes from which members come are homes in which Christ is truly


Baptist debaters have argued for many years that the church was in existence during the days of John the Baptist. They say John baptized Christ, and that made Christ a Baptist—a member of the Baptist Church. Well, after John had been dead for a year or more, Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my church". (Matt 16:18) Even a child can tell that that language mean that up to that hour the Lord's church had not yet been built; it was still in the future.